Due to the extreme penalties behind missing jury duty, scammers are preying on victims’ fear of legal action by pretending to be “jury duty coordinators” questioning consumers about recent jury duty summons. This scam that dates back to 2005, is circulating again with multiple states being hit including Illinois, Oklahoma, Colorado, Arizona and Oregon.
Victims are being confused by scammers who request a Social Security number and date of birth to "verify" their information. With this information, scammers are armed for identity theft, tax fraud, hacking into bank accounts or other illegal purposes.
To avoid falling for this jury duty phone scam, Scambook advises the following:
1. Understand that jury duty is always arranged by mailed letters, not phone calls. If consumers are expecting a jury summons, they are advised to hang up on the caller and get information directly from their local courthouse’s or state attorney general’s website. Visiting www.uscourts.gov, consumer can learn about legitimate juror protocol or recent jury summons.
2. An official government representative will never be rude, bully people or make threats. Victims who are being harassed over the phone are advised to contact their local law enforcement to report the issue.
3. Never give private personal information, such as Social Security number, over the phone. A real official or court representative will not call to request this information.
4. Never give money, either in the form of a credit card number or wire transfer, to an unsolicited caller. In other variations of this jury duty scam, the caller requests money to pay various fees.
5. If in doubt, get the caller's information, do independent fact-checking and call back. Ask for the caller’s name, phone number or extension and their manager's contact information. Then look them up on the internet or by calling the local county courthouse. If the caller does turn out to be a real government representative, consumers can call them back.